It’s a statement that comes free of charge with a large serving of cheese, but whilst Rostam has been there for a number of great pop moments as a producer – including tracks by Haim, Charlii XCX, Frank Ocean and further back Hamilton Leithauser’s wonderful A 1000 Times – it’s been hard to escape the feeling he’s rarely been around for himself.
A prodigious multi instrumentalist and devotee of classical forms as well as contemporary, on only his second outing as a solo artist the man responsible for shaping the first three Vampire Weekend albums looks instead to jazz as a guiding influence, weaving the Baritone sax in particular into a collection of songs loosely themed around fear of change, new beginnings and renewal.
Most of Changephobia‘s best moments -the eco-revenge opener These Kids We Knew, Unfold You’s woozy ragtime love story, the soft rock highway story of 4Runner – have already been revealed. But even though there’s an occasional air of a stop-start creative process at work in Next Thing’s lack of polish and a slightly incongruous pattering intro to Kinney, only From The Back of A Cab will get close to satisfying nostalgia buffs. Getting to the essence of you on this evidence isn’t always as easy as it seems.
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